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Definition of "paroxysm" [par•ox•ysm]

  • A sudden outburst of emotion or action: a paroxysm of laughter. (noun)
  • A sudden attack, recurrence, or intensification of a disease. (noun)
  • A spasm or fit; a convulsion. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "paroxysm" in a sentence
  • "Her innards were in paroxysm, violently expelling what they no longer recognized as food."
  • "The Greek word is the root of the English word paroxysm, which in medicine can stand for a seizure."
  • "That is the basic joke of this very funny play: we modern, knowing libertines, entirely familiar with orgasms, watching repressed Victorians clinically discussing the heretofore unknown phenomenon they term a paroxysm, all thanks to Mr. Edison’s wondrous new discovery, electricity."